May 21, 2014 9:50 pm - Published by

Okay, so the most difficult thing in the world may be a slight exaggeration, but it is the most difficult driving thing I’ve ever tried.

 

Me partaking in Autotests and Autosolos started back in January. For those who don’t know;

“Autotesting involves a series of tests, generally around traffic cones, to measure precision driving skill. The tests often include stopping with the front and rear wheels straddling a line, and always end stopping in a garage”

An Autosolo is the same thing but without the stopping and are all in a forward direction. I was up at Donington Park to do my fire marshal training, during this time, Loughborough Car Club were doing Autosolos in the paddock area. It looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to take a look on their website. After paying £20 for a years membership and a further £20 for entry, I was in. The whole day was a lot of fun, with the first sessions being in the wet and my MX5 having a wedlded diff. When it came up on their website that they were doing some Autotests on grass I couldn’t resist another go. Videos of my 3 runs are on my Youtube channel.

Donington Autosolos

This time we were in a farmers field off the A46. After pulling up and signing a “I will not sue if I die” form, we were given a course map and allowed to walk the 3 courses before driving them. To begin with it just looks like a sea of cones but after walking them it starts to come together and make sense.

 Autotest Course Map

So for my first ever try, driving in anger on grass, starting with course A (Video). First thing you notice, as you can hear in the video, there is zero grip. I’d make the comparison to driving on snow. As I go around the second cone, not even out of second gear and I spin it and around the 4th. Safe to say it didn’t go well. Run 2 went just as badly and I did the course wrong. if my car wasn’t rusting away and I wasn’t replacing it in a month it would need some serious set-up work. Too much speed into the corners and it gets catastrophic understeer, to the point I’d be on full lock and still going straight!

Run 3 was slightly better. Got the hang of the grip levels and just went steady (Video). More catastrophic understeer but managed to get a nice slid our of the slalom section but still not easy. My welded diff is what held be back over the course of the evening.

Onto course B. By now, the heavens had opened. So obviously this made things a million times more difficult. This resuleted in more understeer and many many more spins (Video).

All in all it was still a great evening. £15 and you got to drive around on a low grip surface exploring the limits, sort of, of your car without risk of damaging anything or anyone.

The results were put up on the Loughborough Car Club website tonight and I came last. Not only was a last but I exceeded the maximum time on all 9 runs! I’m still going back to do the other 5 evenings as it is one of the most fun things I’ve ever been and done.

Autotest Results


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